Summary: In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to completely destroy their enemies. But now we are living in the day of grace. In the sermon today we will see that Jesus came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them.
THE DOCTRINE OF ANNIHILATION
Love is a great motivator of people. It is also what motivates so much of what God does for us. John 3:16 clearly tells us and teaches us For God so loved the world… Why did He give His only begotten Son? Because He so loved. But there are other things that motivate mankind. Things like bitterness, jealousy and anger. We carry malice and greed around in our hearts towards others and they motivate us to say and do things that we would never do if we loved them. What causes this hatred, this bitterness this malice within us? Differences. Differences of opinion. Differences in skin color. Differences in nationality. Differences in religion. There was a time in the Old Testament when God taught His people to be this way. God clearly instructed His people when they went to war that they were to totally annihilate the enemy. They were to kill the men, the women, the children, the livestock and then to burn and destroy all of their possessions. In fact, we all remember the problem at Ai. Akin took some things that were supposed to be left behind and God punished him. There were laws on the books such as if a child was caught be rebellious to his parents he was to be taken outside and stoned. This was the law of the land as God set about to purify his people. God set about to show man what sin what and what it’s effects were and ultimately how man would fall short of what God required.
But particularly as it pertained to non-Jews, Gentiles, heathens annihilation was the name of the game. Take no prisoners. Now with that in mind let’s read a story in Luke 9:51-56.
The story begins with a mile marker in Jesus’ ministry. I want you to understand that God has a timetable. A perfect plan for His world and in this story His Son is on that timetable. Jesus has been in Galilee. Here He has taught and healed the people. He has taught His disciples many things. Not only has He been preaching and healing and teaching but He has been preparing Himself as well. As a man, it took preparations for Him to ready Himself for what lay ahead. But the time has come. It is time for Him to depart for Jerusalem and all that will happen to Him there. He will not go directly there but will fulfill all that the Father has planned for Him enroute to Jerusalem.
Now as we see that He has an appointment to keep in Jerusalem I want us to notice something else. The Bible says He steadfastly set His face. In these words I can see the intensity of Jesus change. There is now a growing urgency in His actions. From this time forth He will not be sidetracked from His destination. He will still heal, He will still forgive, He will still touch lives along the way but there is a determination about Him as He looks towards the city of Jerusalem. I can’t help but wonder if we shouldn’t try to draw some parallels between our lives and that of Jesus here. Do we have urgency in what we are doing? Is there a defined purpose in what we do? Are we sure of our calling? Is there steadfastness in us? It is not that Jesus neglected His friends, it is not that He ignored the needs of those who would come to Him from this point forward. But He steadfastly set His face on Jerusalem from this point forward.
And then we come to a couple of interesting verses regarding some villages in Samaria. As Jesus traveled along with His followers He began to look for a place where He might spend the night. Looking down the road a ways He could see a village, a Samaritan village. Now if you were looking at a map you would realize that to get from Galilee to Jerusalem you must pass through Samaria as it is directly south of the area. Jesus sends some messengers ahead to prepare a place where they may eat and sleep. Now from the wording it is hard to say exactly what transpires here but I want to give you an idea of a likely scenario.
It is likely that at the messengers’ arrival the people were quite excited that Jesus might come and spend some time with them. You see it was nearing the time of the Passover. The Passover was important to these Samaritans as they were half Jew and half Gentile. But of great importance is a long standing squabble between the Jews and the Samaritans over the proper place to worship. This squabble is eluded to in John chapter 4 and verse 20 when Jesus is talking to the woman at the well. She says Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye (the Jews) say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. The land of Samaria held great history for the Jewish people. In fact, the well at which He met this woman was one that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. And there was a place near there where the Samaritans went to worship. They believed this was the place while the Jews insisted that true worshippers should come to Jerusalem. It was perhaps hoped by the citizens of this first town that Jesus coming to their town at this time meant that He was taking their side in the debate. But then what happened? Jesus comes and they realize that His visit is just for the evening. They turn Him away.